"Zittau - the "Wealthy"" Zittau by german_eagle

Zittau Travel Guide: 84 reviews and 261 photos

Zittau, pop. 33'000, is located in the far east of Germany, right on the border to both Poland and Czech Republic. First mentioned in 1238 it quickly grew and became an important town in Bohemian Kingdom. Since 1635 Zittau is part of Saxony, and so German.

The sobriquet "the wealthy" came up in the centuries before Zittau was badly damaged by Austrians in the seven-years war on July 23 1757. However, the town recovered and developed as an industrial centre in the 19th century.

From 1945 on, when the German-Polish border was moved westward and the border to Czechoslovakia became quite tight, Zittau kept suffering from being cut off from the former markets and flow of commodity. The situation has slightly improved now, but unemployment in this remote corner of Germany is still high.

Zittau has a very nice old town with beautiful patrician houses, churches and buildings in mostly Baroque and Historistic styles.

Two highlights alone make Zittau worth a visit: The Big and the Small Lenten Cloths (Fastentücher) from 1472 and 1573. They are stunning examples of those Cloths which were used to cover the altar in catholic churches during Lent. In its style the Big Lenten Cloth is one of the few remaining in the world - the only one preserved in Germany. (See my Things To Do Tip)

The main intro picture above shows the western facade of St. Johannis church, the tall steeple of the former Franciscan monastery (now museum) behind "Altes Gymnasium" (one of the oldest school buildings preserved in Germany) and Dornspachhaus with an excellent restaurant.

This page used to include the surroundings of Zittau as well but I moved those tips to my Kurort Oybin and Großschönau pages as there were too many.

Beside the stunning towns like Görlitz and Bautzen and the Cistercian convent St. Marienthal - on which I have built separate pages on VT - I highly recommend to pay a visit to the mid-range mountains a few km south of Zittau (Zittauer Gebirge) and the picturesque villages in the countryside around Zittau.

  • Intro Updated May 8, 2016
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Reviews (46)

Comments (16)

  • Oleg_D.'s Profile Photo
    Sep 14, 2015 at 2:31 PM

    Thank you for interesting page!

    • german_eagle's Profile Photo
      Sep 15, 2015 at 12:52 AM

      Thank you, Oleg. More updates/new tips to come, but unfortunately for you nothing medieval :(

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Sep 15, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    I re-reviewed the sites and the town looks wonderful. I do believe it may be a bit too far for us to make a trip and fit this in the the schedule.

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Jan 10, 2011 at 1:31 PM

    Ingo, great updates and outstanding new tips. We only once spent a couple of hours in darkness in Zittau, but we really enjoyed it there. I even remember having dinner in the Historisches Wirtshaus.

  • Kathrin_E's Profile Photo
    Jan 8, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    Schöne Updates! Brauchst Du ein Foto von der Kaffeeklingel? Ich hätte eins anzubieten...

  • christine.j's Profile Photo
    Dec 28, 2007 at 8:51 AM

    I hope to be in Zittau next spring for a few days, your tips are really helpful.

  • Apr 29, 2005 at 10:47 AM

    Nice place. I especially liked the "Roland Fountain"...

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Mar 28, 2005 at 6:17 AM

    Yes, I hope they do send me to Zittau, it looks like there is a lot to see there. (Long train ride from here, though.)

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Feb 24, 2005 at 7:19 AM

    Interesting destination for me, i see. Hmm... only, say, 5 hours drive from my place. Maybe... I will go to Saxonia this incoming spring...

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Dec 20, 2004 at 4:21 PM

    another interesting place I hope to be able to visit one day, when the old trains will run again !

  • CALSF's Profile Photo
    Dec 13, 2004 at 9:22 PM

    Spectacular photos as usual to match a fabulous Zittau tour. I really think you have a fondness for ice cream, Ingo! But so do we all. :) Regards, Cheryl

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